May 15, 2018

Dementia and sexuality : the rose that never wilts - sexuality and relationships

*These resources, books and eBooks are available to members of dementia Australia library NSW - if you would like to reserve them please email the Library on

Dementia and sexuality : the rose that never wilts

This book offers understanding and a positive attitude to care staff and relatives about the sometimes challenging sexual behaviour of people with dementia. It describes the possible causes and shows that, armed with this knowledge, a satisfactory outcome for all can often be achieved.

The author, Elaine White, has been consulted about sexual behaviour for many years, and is therefore able to include for the benefit of readers many true stories from her work - these case studies help the reader to understand the situations that many find themselves in

Dementia and sexuality makes the powerful point that how each of us perceives and responds to challenging sexual behaviour is very important.
It asks readers to think deeply about their own attitudes as well as the behaviour of people with dementia....

Jan's story : love lost to the long goodbye of Alzheimer's

"...Eventually, Petersen made a decision that is often privately made but rarely discussed. He felt his only chance of survival was to find new love..."

Barry Petersen, long-time CBS news correspondent, has an impressive list of endorsements for his book, including testimonies from Katie Couric, Brian Williams, and Rosalynn Carter. 

This is a love story with a controversial and important ending.

Petersen and his wife met and quickly fell passionately in love. Their marriage was enduring and happy as they shared his life as a traveling correspondent. Then came the diagnosis that would explain Jan’s changing behaviour. Beautiful, vivacious, smart Jan was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Eventually, Petersen made a decision that is often privately made but rarely discussed. He felt his only chance of survival was to find new love. He met a widow who had loved her spouse as much as he loved Jan. They became a couple, with the blessings of most of Jan’s 

family and friends. 

Away From Her DVD

AWAY FROM HER is a beautifully moving love story that deals with memory and the circuitous, unnamable paths of a long marriage. Married for 50 years, Grant (Gordon Pinsent) and Fiona's (Julie Christie) commitment to each other appears unwavering, and their everyday life is full of tenderness and humour. 
This serenity is broken only by the occasional, carefully restrained reference to the past, giving a sense that this marriage may not always have been such a fairy tale. This tendency of Fiona's to make such references, along with her increasingly evident memory loss, creates a tension that is usually brushed off casually by both of them. As the lapses become more obvious and dramatic, it is no longer possible for either of them to ignore the fact that Fiona is suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

Eventually, Fiona decides that it is time for her to enter into a retirement home that specializes in the dementia care. One of the more archaic rules of the place is that a patient may not have any visitors during their first month in the facility in order to 'adjust.' After an excruciatingly painful 30 days separated from his wife, Grant returns to the care home to discover Fiona seems to have no memory of him and has turned all of her affection to Aubrey (Michael Murphy), another resident in the home.

Grant, finding no option but to accept his new status as an attentive acquaintance visits her daily and is forced to bear witness to the cement bond that has developed between her and Aubrey.

The things we keep

*this book is available in 3 formats - paper back on CD or download on your overdrive app

The things we keep
The Things We Keep - Audiobook

An advantage of using fiction to learn about dementia is that it puts a context around the person living with dementia and their families and the community or residential care facility.  

It can let you see the way different attitudes towards dementia may impact on peoples behaviour and it adds other people lives into the mix so it's may not be as intense as just reading about dementia.

This book explores love and sexuality and families attitudes in trying to keep their family members safe possibly at the expense of their happiness. 

It also shows how different people communicate with people with dementia and the impact it has on them and and their lives, all in a subtle way. Plus it's a great read/story!

eBooks on communication also include:

*this book is available in 3 formats - paper back on CD or download on your overdrive app

Their application of the five love languages creates a new way to touch the lives of those who have Alzheimer’s, as well as their caregivers. 

Barr, Shaw and Chapman explain an underlying principle of hesed love, and emphasize that it is an imperative component of dementia care. 
This collaborative work between a healthcare professional, caregiver, and relationship expert will: provide an overview of the love languages and Alzheimer’s diseasecorrelate the love languages with the developments of the stages of AD; discuss how both the caregiver and care receiver can apply the love languages; address the challenges and stresses of the caregiver journey; and offer personal stories and case studies about maintaining emotional intimacy amidst AD.

The easiest way to read an eBook is to simply choose "READ IN BROWSER"

  • Where the Light Gets In - Audiobook
  • Where the Light Gets in : Losing My Mother Only to Find Her Again

    Many know Kimberly Williams-Paisley as the bride in the popular Steve Martin remakes of the "Father of the Bride" movies, the calculating Peggy Kenter on "Nashville," or the wife of country music artist, Brad Paisley. But behind the scenes, Kim’s mother, Linda, was diagnosed with a rare form of dementia that slowly took away her ability to talk, write and eventually recognize people in her own family. "Where the Light Gets In" tells the full story of Linda s illness called primary progressive aphasia from her early-onset diagnosis at the age of 62 through the present day. Kim draws a candid picture of the ways her family reacted for better and worse, and how she, her father and two siblings educated themselves, tried to let go of shame and secrecy, made mistakes, and found unexpected humour and grace. Ultimately the bonds of family were strengthened, and Kim learned ways to love and accept the woman her mother became. With a moving foreword by actor and advocate Michael J. Fox, "Where the Light Gets In" is a heart warming tribute to the often fragile yet unbreakable relationships we have with our mothers."

The ethics of sex and Alzheimer's

Alzheimer’s punishes not only its victims but also those married to them. This book analyses how Alzheimer’s is quietly transforming the way we think about love today. Without meaning to become rebels, many people who find themselves "married to Alzheimer’s" deflate the predominant notion of a conventional marriage. By falling in love again before their ill spouse dies, those married to Alzheimer’s come into conflict with central values of Western civilization – personal, sexual, familial, religious, and political. Those who wait sadly for a spouse’s death must sometimes wonder if the show of fidelity is necessary and whom it helps.
Most books on Alzheimer’s focus on those who have it, as opposed to those who care for someone with it. This book offers a powerful and searching meditation on the extent to which someone married to Alzheimer’s should be expected to suffer loneliness. The diagnosis of dementia should not amount to a prohibition of sexual activity for both spouses. Portmann encourages readers to risk honesty in assessing the moral dilemma, using high-profile cases such as Nancy Reagan and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor to illustrate the enormity of the problem. Ideal for classes considering the ethics of aging and sexuality.

Dying Light - a film about dementia
 (12 minutes long)

Is the touching story of Eva, a strong willed elderly woman who is struggling to look after herself or make sense of her own life as dementia takes over.

* Eva finds refuge in the passionate memories of her youth, of her life as a lover and a young mother. Those memories become more vivid and real to her than the world that currently exists around her dying light

* from a prizewinning short story, also entitled Dying Light.

Sexualities and dementia : education resource for health professionals and 
Sexualities and dementia : education resource for health professionals : facilitator's guide  [booklet and DVD] 

Managing the delicate issue of sexual expression amongst people with dementia is the focus of a new education resource produced by Griffith University researcher Dr Cindy Jones.
The first resource of its kind and the subject of funding from the Department of Health and Aging and Queensland Dementia Training and Study Centres (DTSC), Sexualities and Dementia: Education Resource for Health Professionals is aimed at assisting health professionals working across care settings.
It is also the first e-learning resource in Australia to include concerns and issues faced by non-heterosexual people with dementia, including those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI).Based on national and international literature and research by Dr Jones from Griffith’s Centre for Health Practice Innovation, the free eLearning resource aims to increase awareness of intimacy, sexualities and sexual behaviours specific to people with dementia and to guide their carers on how to better support them.

Gen silent : a documentary film about LGBT aging [DVD]
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender older people who fought the first battles for equality now face so much fear of discrimination, bullying and abuse in the care setting that many are hiding their lives to survive. Thousands are dying earlier than their straight counterparts because they are isolated and afraid to ask for help. But a growing number of people are fighting to keep their elders from being silenced.
Gen Silent was filmed in the Boston area over a one year period. During that time, director Stu Maddux followed six LGBT seniors through their decision to either stay open about their sexuality or hide it so that they can survive in the long-term health care system.

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